The beginning of May. A time ripe with expectation and new beginnings. In most places it is now when spring starts to make its full impact; trees are budding, flowers are pushing through the dirt, and people are out raking their lawns. Spring is here.
With the beginning of May also comes the beginning of another tree planting season in British Columbia’s interior. A place where spring is still arriving, and winter is taking its final punches. People from all over Canada and abroad filter into small towns anticipating what could be a life changing three month experience.
This year started by setting up camp as a steady snowfall covered the ground.
No matter how long you have been planting it is always a shock on the first day. The rookies are all wide-eyed, and the vets look calm as ever, but deep down everyone is thinking, “What am I doing out here?”
We are all out here for some reason. Most are here for the money. Whether to pay for school, to travel, or to make a down payment on a house. Some are here to make an impact–to give back to the earth. And some are here simply because this is what they do.
You wake up with the sun and get ready to spend a day in dirt. You set in for your three month pattern of eat, plant, sleep. Eat, plant, sleep. That is it. There is something incredibly simple about planting trees. I believe that anyone can plant a tree, but only certain people can be tree planters. The repetition can easily wear people down. The monotony of the job can become too much for many. Often times people will say that they wish they could do such a simple and monotonous job for three months. And to all of those people I welcome them to give it a shot. We, today, are too wrapped up in stuff, and too consumed with consumption. The simplicity of planting trees can be a burden. But for those who can persist, tree planting is the only summer job to consider.
As summer approaches the bush is once again full of people ready to face another season of planting. I can only hope that the snow has left us and that the mosquitos are delayed. Until then I will stayed bundled up in my sleeping bag, with an extra quilt and a toque. I will cover myself in layers of wool, and drink hot coffee in the morning to try to warm myself before the day begins. These are the days that I always look back on, and these are the days that I cannot stop telling stories about. Ask any of my family or friends: tree planting is in my blood. The challenges, dangers, stresses, weather, and practicing monotony have shaped who I am today. And as this season begins I eagerly look forward to tomorrow and another day of planting. Another day to persist and to excel in monotony.